Friday, August 30, 2013

Like Birds

Like birds

these poems are wild

going somewhere
anywhere in air
floating on the current
in the waves of battling poles
latched to a tree
they are stinging me

feathers supplicating
fettered by a turbulence of thought
caught in the frightful claws
of hunger and draught

these poems are wild
their whistle is darned to destiny
across the fabric of time
living on vibration and fighting gravity

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Something about Sweet William

A review of Sweet William by Ned Johnson....Thank you!

"There are many "laws" of writing style. Among the few that stand out as preeminent are, "Write what you know about," and "You can't write about what you don't see in your mind." In her novella Sweet William, Martie Odell Ingebretsen violates the first and proves the latter, both with brilliance. Those are two of several keys to her unique and powerful style.

As to the first law, the one that she violates, all she does is prove that a vivid and attentive imagination is equal to, or better than, direct experience. Martie herself has never been homeless. Yet she has insight into the soul of the experience that some who have lived it lack. She displays this mainly through details: a refusal to use a shopping cart, because of what it symbolizes; having a "safe place" to store possessions when you're not around; tips and tricks about professional dumpster diving. Her insight into the nature of the lifestyle is revealed in countless little details that put the reader right there with the character--alive and well.

She applies the same technique to other situations, ones with which she is, at least to some degree, more personally familiar. But it all cases, it is her ability to first envision, then to describe a scene or a feeling or a sensation. And describe it she does. Sumptuously.

Which brings up another of her best attributes: her style of delivery. Martie has a unique talent for putting words together that are under most circumstances strange bedfellows, to say the least. Yet she yokes them together for her own purposes, and they find ways of making wonderful sense together. Besides being a delight to stumble upon in the course of reading, these little gems also have the side effect of focusing the reader's attention quite unconsciously and spontaneously. It is a sly, beneficial, and quite effective knack.

The next most powerful asset she brings to the party is her compassion. That, along with her insight into the inner workings of her characters (and by extension, humanity), are potent storytelling tools.

She understands the thoughts and feelings that form the fabric of our experience, and she knows where they come from. This provides her with the ability to present the thoughts, feelings, actions, and development of her characters sensibly and precisely. They don't always do what you expect them to, but they always do something that they would do. Not every author can say that with a straight face.

Her story is one that spans the gamut of human experience, from the depths of tragedy to the apex of elation, with many stops along the way. She accomplishes this through the use of the techniques above, along with her choice of characters, a credible and rewarding storyline, and a finish you can (happily) live with.

For a first novella--it is an achievement to be proud of. I certainly would be if I had written it. No doubt I have plenty of company in that respect."

You might ask how I know about the things in Williams life as Ned did in the above review.  Yes,  I  experienced the loss and the devastation that William did when my daughter died at 8 years.   William lost a child and wife...everything he held dear was gone in a blink.  I understood the horror and the guilt and I knew the anger that needed to explode at something or someone.  The man with the mean eyes was that someone in the story.  Read Sweet William and you will ask as William does, is there any blame?  

Have I ever been homeless....No.  At least not in the sense that William was homeless.  I moved from the home I had lived in for 30 years and spent 4 months in a motel before finding another home.  


Around the corner and down the block
heavy with memory, I walk on sidewalks
torn by cracks and littered with the sunshine
of the ache in the gate that was home.

Barefooted across the paved heat of the streets
where the leaves of autumn still fall and call,
all my lost thoughts flood the gutters and tombs
as the birds and I thrum with the clock.
A white linen blouse on a January day
writes its song on the shoulders of trees,
then stays like the strings of a familiar love,
lost in the culverts unseen but by me.

The smile of the child at the door I can't block
from the threshold that used to be mine;
I hope that he feels all the goodness I've known
for the place called my home now is his.

In every experience there can be learning and growth and also a story that can be told.  Is the story fiction or truth?  Maybe it is both.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dissected by the Moon

It was last night when across the floor    
a slice of white came through the door
I was dissected by the moon
into variegated delight of room

As from my sleep I woke to see
all of me rumpled satin cream
as the movement of the galaxies
crossed the valley of my dreams

I turned to dimensions more than three
and even through the screen this beam
kissed my breath to sharp intake
and made of me a shadowed gate

It mattered not that warm sweet wind
came with the slice that cut me thin
I knew the breath was born from bone
that crossed through veil of time unknown

So bitter sweet the touch of rare
in ancient Greece my youth so fair
that spilled from out this mouth of pearl
and left me never more a girl

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Roller in the Grass of Playful

I'm thinking of you Michelle

warming past the tree

where we frolicked with the day

memory takes me to that hill

All the year I've worn my heart

in comfort drawn to wait

the times that bring you near

just not expecting now and so dear

But here you are wrapping around my years

growing with me not tears

but moments spent in learning trees

and little pieces of poured cement

with your name that lasts

it's just not fair how living

can't be cast

The dog's bark is for you too

and the jasmine hanging on the fence by me

a roller in the grass of playful came to be

itched with laughter until the tears were only mine

So this day I know you see the pool we built

the year you died

as if to hide in the joyous splash

your brothers made into what was a hill

where dogs remarked

yet still

I miss the way your gleeful filled the day

and colored the empty place in me with play

Friday, August 2, 2013

On Mariam Kobras and Song of the Storm

I met Mariam Kobras on Twitter.  She quickly became one of my favorite peeps.  We were brought together by our mutual love of writing.  She introduced me to her publisher, Buddhapuss Inc, who became my publisher.  Serendipity works that way some times.  I read Mariam's first two books of the Stone Trilogy and became interested in the lives of Jon, the rock star and his independent and beautiful lady love, Naomi.  Their lives are far different from mine, but I can relate to them because Mariam wrote them into humanness.  I found myself wanting to interact with them, to listen to their life stories, know their quirks and  foibles and the details of their love.  I wondered how Mariam could possibly write another book about the same people, but she did and I have to say that book, Song of the Storm, is my favorite. 

This third book not only made me want to know about Naomi and Jon and their friends and family and what happened to make them who they are, but I found myself liking them.  I was still caught in the emotion of the ending when I wrote Mariam this email.

Dear Mariam

I've just finished Song of the Storm.  My eyes filled with tears, remembering, as I'm sure everyone does remember, 9/11.  You wrote of it with heart and compassion.  Now I understand that the event didn't just effect the people of the USA, but all people.  I went into my old poems to find the poem I wrote after 9/11 because I wanted to share it with you.  I remember the time after as so quiet because there were no airplanes allowed.  Families cozied up together and the streets were empty.  I could here the news channels streaming again and again the horrible truth.  


As the first breath squirms,
then sirens
across the lap of beginning,
hear the fragile power
that is life. 

a candle’s flame
blown out in dark clouds
of hatred’s careless and despicable.

the spirit that began
before time cut the umbilical cord
and freedom became a feeling.

Fragile falls,
it bends and melts
and will never be again
the way it was.
But, the life force,
the spirit that builds joy
from a foundation that hugs compassion,
grows stronger.

And when a circle is formed
of hand touching hand,
there is no measure of its strength,
for it is indestructible.

From the open door
the crows argue with the sky
and I listen in awe
as an airplane softly roars
into my understanding
that life goes on.

I hear commitment,
it feels like the breath of spirit,
it feels like power.

In Song of the Storm I felt love and understanding grow,  the music build into families of tenderness, the ache of missing and the terrible lament of why.  You wrote this book as an artist would draw a precious piece of art.

Thank you for being an author.

Love, Martie

You can find the link to Song of a Storm at Amazon,  HERE